by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Annual fruit picking employment opportunities created and provided by the Tongan government for its people deploys more locals to New Zealand and Australia for fruit picking.
According to Dr Saia Piukala, Acting Minister of Internal Affairs, “the ministry deploys more than 3500 people annually to New Zealand and Australia under the Seasonal Workers Program (SWP) and Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, which brings to Tonga over TOP$30 million (US$14.1 million) in remittances”.
To equip its local workers, a leadership programme, launched on Monday is underway and will run for four weeks for the workers. A total of 50 different participants will be participating in the two different programmes.
The two different programmes, ‘induction preparation programme’ is for the new workers while the ‘leadership programme’ is offered for the seasoned workers plus the group workers.
The main objectives and aim of the programmes are to further develop the skills of the workers to meet the current needs of horticulture industry in Australia and New Zealand, and also to improve the workers literacy, numeracy and communication skills so they can adapt better, while working and living in another country.
The training delivery partners for these programmes include Best Pacific Institute of Education and Christine Newland, St Joseph Business College, Tonga Institute of Higher Education for Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The participants in the two different programmes will graduate with a New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Level 1) qualification for ‘induction preparation programme while the ‘leadership programme’ participants will graduate with a New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to team leadership Level 3 qualification and Horticulture Level 1 qualification).